Island of Lost SoulsDirector: Erle C. Kenton
This first film version of H.G. Wells' Island of Dr. Moreau stars Charles Laughton as Dr.Moreau, a dedicated but sadly misguided scientist who rules the roost on a remote island. Shipwrecked sailor Edward Parker Richard Arlen finds himself on Moreau's island, agreeing to stick around until another boat can come along and take him home. But that's not quite what Moreau has in mind: he'd rather Parker stay on the island and marry the exotic Lota (Kathleen Burke), who curiously possesses the characteristics of the panther. In fact, all the island's natives seem more animal than human, especially the hirsute Bela Lugosi. And why not? They are animals who've been transformed by Moreau into humanlike creatures via surgery. Moreau's plans to mate Parker and Lota are complicated by the arrival of Parker's fiancee Leila Hyams, who has been brought to the island by ship's captain Stanley Fields, one of Moreau's flunkies. When Moreau kills Fields for this insubordination, he makes the mistake of breaking one of the rules he himself has imposed on the island: That no creature shall kill another. Island of Lost Souls does its job of inducing goosebumps so well that one can forgive the cherubic excesses of Charles Laughton in his portrayal of Dr. Moreau. The film would be remade under Wells' original title in 1978, with Burt Lancaster in the Laughton role.
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Cast & Crew
|Charles Laughton||Dr. Moreau|
|Bela Lugosi||Sayer of the Law|
|Richard Arlen||Edward Parker|
|Leila Hyams||Ruth Thomas|
|Kathleen Burke||Lota, the Panther Woman|
|Stanley Fields||Capt. of the Covena|
|Rosemary Grimes||Samoan Girl|
|Paul Hurst||Capt. Donahue|
|George S. Irving||American Consul|
|Larry "Buster" Crabbe||Actor|
|Alan Ladd||Ape Man|
|Duke York||Ape Man|
|Randolph Scott||Bit Part|
|Erle C. Kenton||Director|
|Gordon Jennings||Special Effects|
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Based on one of H. G. Welles' novels, "The Island Of Lost Souls" is one of those genuinely scary films that shows us what happens when men play God. Made in 1932, just before The Hayes Code put serious restrictions on films, this scarifying masterpiece has a lot of things to recommend it: weird make-up effects, gothic cinematography, atmospheric settings and even a Panther Woman. But more about that later... The story is about a shipwrecked man (Richard Arlen) who runs aground on a mysterious island, which is pretty much run by Dr. Moreau, played with masterful cool by a then-unknown Charles Laughton. The natives on this particular island have become medical guinea pigs for his experiments, which he performs in what he calls "the house of pain". Sensing the fear of discovery, when others come looking for the shipwrecked man, Dr. Moreau's insanity leads to a fiery, gruesome climax that was rare for films of The Great Depression. "Island Of Lost Souls" was directed by Erle C. Kenton, who later became known for helming some of Abbott & Costello's funniest films but you certainly couldn't tell that here. There is a constant sense of palpable fear that permeates the film. As astounding as Laughton is, Bela Lugosi (making one of his first films after "Dracula") is also brilliant as The Sayer Of The Law. And then, there's Kathleen Burke as The Panther Woman, who sort of looks and acts like a 1930's version of Raquel Welch in "One Million Years B. C." The DVD from The Criterion Collection features some fine extras, including the video for Devo's "Jocko Homo", which was inspired by a classic phrase used in this film, "Are we not men?" Most people don't know that. Then again, not too many know this film. They did, however, try to remake this film in 1977 with Burt Lancaster and Michael York. Yet, "Island Of Lost Souls" has a gothic eerieness that can easily be compared with The Universal Studios horror films of that day. This film was made EIGHTY years ago and it still has the ability to give any jaded viewer the heebie-jeebies.
Forget the chain-saw-wielding, hockey-mask-wearing, blood-spattered schlock that now passes for horror. This original version of Island of Lost Souls is still the best for thrilling chills. Bela Lugosi chews the scenery a bit, but the plot hasn't lost its relevance and Dr. Moreau's "lost souls" are unforgettably creepy yet sympathetic. The grainy black-and-white underscores the darkness of the story line in a way that later remakes of the film couldn't match. If you want to feel the hairs standing up on your neck, watch this in the dark.
This is a gory and very scary movie even today. Charles Laughten is wonderfuly creepy as Dr. Moreau. This film was remade with Burt Lancaster who was downright awful. Then in 1996 it was remade again with Marlon Brando and he did a great job but nobody can match up to Charles Laughten. Take my advice see this film if you can stand it.
Strange but good movie !!!!!! This is one of the strangest movie I have seen. It had a very strange story line that I was interested in watching till the end to see how it unravels. The movie is about a guy who finds a portal to John Malco...Read MoreStrange but good movie This is one of the strangest movie I have seen. It had a very strange story line that I was interested in watching till the end to see how it unravels. The movie is about a guy who finds a portal to John Malcovich's brain. Anyone who goes into the portal can watch what John Malcovich is doing and ''be'' John Malcovich for 15 minutes.